A ‘digital detox’ sounds too quaint for 2016 – I don’t want to ban social media, it’s the way we live now | Brigid Delaney

Writers such as Zadie Smith and Jonathan Franzen speak of having to tune out the internet in order to write. But is that just tuning out real life?

This will be the year, I say every year. The year when the fever breaks, the addiction weakens, when my attention span and focus becomes a vast, smooth body of water without rips or currents pulling me back and forth, dragging me under, taking me out.

A year not without the internet but having the internet under control. It might look like this: check email three times a day, visit Twitter five times, check Facebook once instead of what it is now: a constant binge, 20 tabs open on the browser, and multiple conversations occurring simultaneously on half a dozen different platforms, from Facebook messenger to Google chat.

It seems like each year its getting harder and harder to switch off. The devices are getting faster, lighter and better, and we are drawing ever closer to them. Social media and our interactions on it seem no longer ancillary to our regular lives but overlaid, cheek to cheek, the skin across our bones.

The phrase digital detox seems quaint, like something from another era (2013? 2014?). Its 2016 and we are past the point of no return.

But what is that point? Is it when you suspect your online life is richer, deeper, more intense, fast and funny than anything you could hope for IRL? When you think leaving the digital world would kill the best part of yourself? But why would you kill the thing you love?

Increasingly, people feel like their real selves online, and its out in the world that they feel false or slow or derivative. The wit on Twitter (they actually are a raconteur like it says in their profile), the hot talking Tinder dude, the Instagrammer who wants to share every sunset out there in the real world eye to eye across a table, or in some bar the words dry up in their throat and there is that passing, melancholy thought: Things were so much better online.

Im surely not the only one left slightly reeling after an online conversation has escalated to something … unexpected … gotten so deep so quickly right down to the bones that Ive found myself sharing things Id never say in real life.

Its not just the personal and profound but the dull details of life that bounce back and forth in endless messages: what did you have for lunch, what are you reading, have you seen this clip?

But this overlay and the constant disruption that occurs can be the enemy of creating anything of depth and substance, whether it is writing a novel or making a garden. Hence my fierce desire in 2016 to break away.

In the Woman of the Hour podcast, Zadie Smith recently detailed how she had to curb her internet use if she wanted to write books. She almost always has an away message on her email and uses an old fashioned flip phone that doesnt have an internet connection.

Its the action of an addict, Smith told podcast host Lena Dunham. Ill go down a Beyoncé Google hole for 4 hours anything but write. First I got the flip phone, it has nothing on it, it barely texts (then) I found something online which takes social media off your computer.

She also uses internet blocking software Self Control, Freedom and Brown Noise to block out sound.

When I started writing, the internet barely existed (Smith is 40) but I have a feeling that younger people dont have these addictive issues because they grew up with it. For us one minute it wasnt there and then it was.

Other novelists, including Jonathan Franzen, talk about the internet as if it is the enemy of creating good art. He wrote in the Guardian:

When Im working, I need to isolate myself at the office, because Im easily distracted and modern life has become extremely distracting. Distraction pours through every portal, especially through the internet. And most of what pours through is meaningless noise. To be able to hear whats really happening in the world, you have to block out 99% of the noise.

Is the solution to scrub the internet out of your home and out of your life to install the software, tape up the plugs, disable the modem, disconnect the wifi, pretend it doesnt exist, reinstate your attention span to pre-internet level? To make it like 1980 when you write your book, and all you have is the home phone, which is off the hook?

Maybe not, because the worlds created with these perfect attention spans cant therefore be a slice of modern life, because this life is now so different from the circumstances under which the work was created.

A recent article in Fader contrasted the songs of Adele and Drake.

Adele is writing songs as if the internet didnt exist, while Drake acknowledges the overlay between our real life and virtual life. (Frank Ocean, novelist Tao Lin and Kanye are others who are good depicting our hyper-connected age.)

According to Aimee Cliff in Fader:

The contrast is uncanny. Not only is Adele a chart challenge to Drake, but shes also his polar opposite and no two songs could illustrate this better than Hello and Hotline Bling. Although both songs seem to be fundamentally dealing with the decades-old, familiar pop subject matter of missed connections, Drakes takes place in our current world, in which you cant escape updates and rumors about your ex even as you travel the world. Meanwhile, Adele sets her scene in a pre-social media universe: one in which shes been calling the person shes trying to reach on their landline for years (when I call you never seem to be home) and doesnt even know if they live in the same place or not.

This is not to say that Drakes music is better than Adeles, but when it comes to making sense of the world we need people who can tell it how it really is, not how it once was.

One can imagine Franzen returning to the world from his writing cocoon and feeling as if hes woken up in a different century.

Early 20th century novelist EM Forster had one perfect plea: only connect. Now all we do is connect. Were blitzing on connections, were mainlining connections, were connecting when we should be asleep, should be alone, should be talking to the people in front of us (IRL).

The future as JG Ballard imagined it is now. We fetishise our machines and devices the way that Vaughan did with vehicles in Crash. But instead of dehumanising us, it has the potential to have the opposite effect. All those Twitter jokes, all those Facebook friends, all those people who would have slipped through the cracks and time, the net is there to catch them.

There are riches here that our Victorian descendants out all day in the paddocks, acres of silence, church and calling on people on Sunday could have never imagined.

We just have to work out a way to write books and make art with this disruption we have to be able to fold it into our work to create new kinds of work. Maybe thats the resolution for 2016.

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Leicester City ‘could make 150m from Premier League win’ – BBC News

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Leicester City’s Algerian-born star Riyad Mahrez celebrates a goal

Leicester City are set for a potential 150m boost for winning the Premier League title, analysts at sports data and marketing firm Repucom have said.

The sum comprises Premier League prize money, Champions League participation cash, and increased match day revenues from ticket and hospitality sales.

The Foxes will also enjoy a higher valuation of sponsorship assets, and a growth in fan bases globally, it said.

Leicester clinched a fairytale first championship on Monday evening.

Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with second-placed Tottenham Hotspur meant the north London club could not catch Leicester.

The East Midlands club will now feature in the Uefa Champions League next season, taking them to an even larger European and world TV audience.

Social media surge

Spencer Nolan, head of consulting at Repucom UK and Ireland, said adding fans worldwide remained “central to realising the club’s full potential as a commercial entity”.

“While it is too early to really evaluate the rapidly growing fan bases we are starting to see across Asia for example, social media provides us an opportunity to start to quantify this surge.”

Image copyright Leicester City/Facebook
Image caption The club is growing its overseas Facebook presence, including in Thailand

This season, the club’s Facebook page following has grown by a huge 540%, making it one of the fastest growing accounts of any sports team globally.

Algeria’s 500,000 followers represent Leicester City’s largest fan base on the social network (16.7%), thanks to the performances of PFA Player of the Season, team winger Riyad Mahrez.

There have also been large increases in Thailand and Italy, the homelands of the club’s owners and manager respectively.

‘Maximise returns’

Mr Nolan said the summer would be an important time for the East Midlands club to build its commercial presence.

“Leicester City FC’s real commercial potential will become clearer in the season break as brands vie to associate themselves to the club and, in turn, the league winners aim to maximise the returns their status could command,” he said.

He also said that in the 2015-16 season, Leicester’s TV audiences had soared by more than 23% globally – “which will help… to increase the value of their sponsorship properties next term”.

“The task now is to optimise the value of those assets and ensure they attract the incomes Leicester City could now generate.”

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Return on Content: A Review of How Spending Patterns on Content Marketing Are Changing – Business 2 Community


Business 2 Community

Return on Content: A Review of How Spending Patterns on Content Marketing Are Changing
Business 2 Community
Because of the way results lag investment, content marketers sometimes have a problem calculating the ROI of the content. (Call it ROC: Return on Content.) But help is at hand, because the CMI (Content Marketing Institute) has just completed its annual

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Man allegedly lured Navajo girl in to van to sexually assault her but left her to die

Affidavit says he removed her clothes, preparing to sexually assault her, then hit her twice in the head with a crowbar because she begged to be taken home

A man who allegedly lured an 11-year-old girl and her brother, nine, into his van, attempted to sexually assault her, and left her to die in the New Mexico desert has appeared in court on Wednesday charged with her kidnapping and murder.

Tom Begaye, a 27-year-old Navajo man from Waterflow, New Mexico, is accused of luring Ashlynne Mike into his van with promises of watching the movie Zootopia.

The siblings were abducted after being dropped off at a bus stop after school, about a quarter-mile from their home Monday afternoon. The brother and another boy their cousin said no to the movie offer, but Ashlynne was lured into the van.

The girls brother who, according to a federal affidavit released on Wednesday, also jumped into the van hoping to protect her, was later discovered walking down a desert highway where he had been left by the kidnapper. His sisters body wasnt found until the next day, her head bloodied and bashed with a crowbar.

According to the affidavit, Begaye told investigators he removed the girls clothing, preparing to sexually assault her, and that he hit her twice in the head with a crowbar because she was crying and begging to be taken home.

He also said that the girl was still moving when he left her for dead in the desert. US magistrate judge B Paul Briones told Begaye he could face life in prison if convicted of the murder charge. As he was taken away in an SUV after the hearing, people outside the courthouse yelled bastard and go to hell.

Rickie Nez, a cousin of the victim who was in court to see her alleged killer arraigned on Wednesday morning, told the Guardian: Its horrible. We are a peaceful people; we care about one another. But now [one of] our own people has allegedly committed this thing, and its horrible. [Now] we have to start going to our schools and teach children to stop speaking to strangers.

The case has raised questions about the capacity of authorities to respond to abductions in remote areas of the Navajo Nation. Nez said that while the pairs disappearance was reported by their father to the Navajo police just before 7pm, it took until 2.30am for the FBI to authorize an amber alert, a delay that Nez said would not have happened if the abduction had taken place in Albuquerque or Farmington.

In the meantime, community members who heard about the abduction via radio and social media congregated to join in the search Monday around 9pm and again Tuesday morning, said Graham Binaal, a Shiprock resident who joined the effort. Once someone put it out there that there was this missing child, then the word just spread from there, he said. About 100 people from the community turned out to help look for her.

Ashlynne
Ashlynne Mike. Photograph: AP

It wasnt clear why it took hours for authorities to get word out about the abduction, and FBI special agent in charge Terry Wade declined to answer related questions during a news conference.

A tribal official, public safety director Jesse Delmar, said Tuesday that every protocol was followed in the New Mexico state polices issuance of the amber alert. However, tribal president Russell Begaye no relation to the defendant said in the same statement that the tribe needs to implement an effective response system in which modern technology is utilized more effectively.

Tips flooded in from across the reservation that spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Authorities said the kidnapper was driving a maroon van with a luggage rack but no hubcaps.

In court, Begaye shuffled with shackles on. He remained quiet as the victims relatives and other community members watched the reading of the murder and kidnapping charges.

Shawn Mike, Ashlynnes cousin and the father of the boy who stayed behind, said he didnt believe the family knew Begaye. The brother called him a stranger. Waterflow is a community of about 1,600 people, just a few miles west of the girls home in Fruitland.

On Tuesday, hundreds of residents packed the Navajo Nations San Juan chapter house in Shiprock, to remember. Ashlynnes father sat silently in the front as the girls principal remembered her as a kind child who was a part of the school band, and local leaders offered condolences. Ashlynne was fifth-grader at Ojo Amarillo elementary school in Fruitland. She played xylophone and had a performance just last week.

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Are recreational marijuana companies' social media posts compliant with regulations? – EurekAlert (press release)


Channel NewsAsia

Are recreational marijuana companies' social media posts compliant with regulations?
EurekAlert (press release)
Bottom Line: Recreational marijuana use was legalized in the state of Washington in 2012 and there are regulations about posting product promotion messages on social media, while direct advertising of marijuana on social media remains illegal.
Social media posts by marijuana companies may have teen appealKFGO News

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